MonthOctober 2010

Douglas Coupland’s Pessimistic Guide to the Next 10 Years

Douglas Coupland - the future is now

1) It’s going to get worse
2) The future isn’t going to feel futuristic
3) The future is going to happen no matter what we do. The future will feel even faster than it does now
4)Move to Vancouver, San Diego, Shannon or Liverpool
5) You’ll spend a lot of your time feeling like a dog leashed to a pole outside the grocery store – separation anxiety will become your permanent state
6) The middle class is over. It’s not coming back
7) Retail will start to resemble Mexican drugstores
8) Try to live near a subway entrance
9) The suburbs are doomed, especially thoseE.T. , California-style suburbs
10) In the same way you can never go backward to a slower computer, you can never go backward to a lessened state of connectedness
11) Old people won’t be quite so clueless
12) Expect less
13) Enjoy lettuce while you still can
14) Something smarter than us is going to emerge
15) Make sure you’ve got someone to change your diaper

Globe and Mail: A radical pessimist’s guide to the next 10 years

That’s just the first 15 – there are 45 total, most with some elaboration.

If that’s too pessimistic for you, check out A Happy Mutants Guide to the Near Future.

Alan Moore’s New Feature Film And Spin Off TV Series, Jimmy’s End

Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins

Who knows if this will ever make it out of production hell:

As readers of Dodgem Logic #2 will know, photographer Mitch Jenkins took a striking series of portraits of performers at a Northampton burlesque review. He decided to film a 10-minute short featuring the dancers for his showreel and, wanting to help out a friend, Moore offered to write a shooting script. It was called “Jimmy’s End”.

As soon as word got out that Moore was writing something for film, people quickly got interested. Jenkins and Moore were approached by Warp Films (producers of Shane Meadows’ This is England and Chris Morris’ Four Lions), who offered to fund a feature version of the film.

These discussions grew to accommodate the idea of spinning off a Channel 4 series from the film, in the manner of This is England ’86. Moore said that initially he’d been dubious about how the story could be extended in this way but had now figured out a longer ongoing narrative.

Bleeding Cool: Jimmy’s End – Alan Moore’s New Feature Film And Spin Off TV Series

(via John Reppion)

Great Demands from Employers Mean Jobs Go Unfilled Even with High Unemployment

not hiring

The total number of job openings does remain historically low: 3.2 million, down from 4.4 million before the recession. But the number of openings has surged 37 percent in the past year. And yet the unemployment rate has actually risen during that time. […]

Human resource specialists say employers who increasingly need multi-skilled employees aren’t willing to settle for less. They’d rather wait and hold jobs vacant.

HR specialists even have a nickname for the highly sought but elusive job candidate whose skills and experiences precisely match an employer’s needs: the “purple squirrel.”

MSNBC: Employer demands mean some jobs go unfilled

This is a trend I’ve seen a lot in information technology. Even with supposed shortages of “qualified” IT workers, workers report great difficulty finding jobs because their requirements are so incredibly niche.

Sometimes it’s just flat-out cluelessness – I’ve heard about job listings that request more years experience with certain software packages than those packages have even existed. But most of the time it’s the employer not being willing to invest in training employees.

Companies have long been relying on temps and “permatemps” instead of actual employees for years now.

There’s some need, of course, for better training programs in schools (as I’ve argued here), but there’s also a certain amount of responsibility employers are going to have to take in training workers. (PG&E is partnering with community colleges to train workers, for instance.)

Photo by Daniel Lobo

Dymaxion Car Reproduced

Norman Foster and his Dymaxion Car

The Dymaxion car reconstruction project mentioned here previously has been completed. For better or worse, it was just rebuilt as a one-off art project. Until the end of the month, you’ll be able to see it at the Ivorypress Art+Books gallery in Madrid.

Guardian: Norman Foster’s back-to-front car

(Thanks Bill!)

Summary of The Now Habit: Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

The Now Habit: Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

Lifehacker has a summary of The Now Habit: Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by psychologist Neil Fiore. Here are a couple highlights:

Fiore encourages procastinators to get away from preemptively scheduling work and focus on unscheduling. Unscheduling is massive shift in thinking from how most of us use calendars and schedules. Rather than start by filling the calendar with the work you want to do, you start by scheduling fixed commitments and play. You reverse your calendar and begin with the premise that you need (and deserve) at least one hour of play and relaxation a day and at least one day of work off a week. You schedule those first, as well as previously committed time—like when you sleep, eat, exercise, commute to work, and other blocks of time you must expend each day. […]

Fiore also urges readers to focus on small blocks of time with a focus on realistic output. In addition to limiting the total amount of time you spend working (and recognizing the limitations of how much work you can do in the process), focus on limiting the size of your individual blocks of work. If you sit down in front of a task with an open-ended schedule like “I need to finish this entire project by the end of the day”, you’re setting yourself up for a bout of procrastination. In the mind of a procrastinator, the end of the business day is practically in the next century. Instead say “I have 30 minutes to work before I must take a small break to relax. What can I realistically accomplish in 30 minutes?”.

Lifehacker: The Now Habit: Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

One problem I have is the unclear boundary between work and play in some circumstances. For example is Technoccult work or is it play? What about Psychetect? They’re work in that it requires focused attention and have tasks and goals and, sometimes, deadlines – but they’re things I do because I want to.

Reminder: EsoZone Portland is TONIGHT

Soup Purse workshop

soup purse

Above are some images from Soup Purse‘s occult music/audio sigilization work shop.

Some of the other stuff that happened last year:

-Altar building
-Group harmonics/chanting
-Sword fighting
-Workshops on Reichian therapy and the Hyatt method
-A comics jam (the results of which I was supposed to post online and still haven’t…)
-Discussions on all sorts of stuff, like subterranean weirdness, parasites and the “Skywalker syndrome.”

Come on down this year and contribute your own ideas and activities.

EsoZone

Cryptome Hacked, Apparently by Wikileaks Sympathizers

I haven’t been following Wikileaks stuff closely for the past few weeks, I have some catching up to do. This story today caught my eye though:

The hack of Cryptome would seem to illustrate the real value that a site like WikiLeaks offers. Cryptome, a proto-WikiLeaks, has published many important leaks since it was launched in 1996, exposing government secrets and gaffes.

The site, however, doesn’t provide the kind of secure, anonymized submission process that WikiLeaks boasts. Instead, it uses e-mail addresses controlled by Young, raising the risk that sensitive sources could be exposed by this and other hacks. Despite many controversies surrounding WikiLeaks and its founder, that site has never had a security breach, as far as anyone knows. But now Cryptome has.

However:

Cryptome’s hacker claims that although some of the “insiders” initially communicated anonymously with Cryptome using a PGPBoard drop box, they later used personal e-mail addresses for ongoing correspondence, thus potentially exposing their identities to anyone with access to Cryptome’s files.

Threat Level: Secret-Spilling Sources at Risk Following Cryptome Breach

Can’t Come to EsoZone This Year? Astral Project (Again!)

EsoZone

Last year Nolon Ashley hosted an “Astral Convention” at EsoZone, and I helped out by providing a soundtrack of binaurel beats (generated with SbaGen) and live Psychetect noise noodling. We’ll be doing the same thing this year. Details:

6pm PST, October 10th

If you can’t make it at that time, astral time travel as well.

Here’s the EsoZone blog entry from last year, I’ll update with any more information Frater Zir provides me:

Can’t Make It to EsoZone Portland? Astral Project!

See also the The Akaschic Record of the Astral Convention (PDF), which started it all.

Multifunctional Clothes for Modern Mystics

multifunctional clothes for modern mystics Beta Unit 2

Need the perfect outerwear for reading Arthur Magazine* at your favorite occultnik bar? Look no further:

Southern California’s Beta Unit introduces streetwear to an apocalyptic aesthetic that’s usually reserved for the runway. In the upcoming fall collection, knits with mystical-looking geometric patterns bring crop formations to mind and functional details fit for nomads, like a hood that converts into a scarf, feature prominently. “Like many of our other projects, we were driven by simply wanting to see an idea we had in our minds become reality,” explains Beta Unit’s Tim Sheehy.

Cool Hunting: A Southern California streetwear label’s multifunctional clothes for modern mystics

(Thanks Josh!)

See also:

Urban design body armor

Devil Worship Is The New Black

*I guess either back issues or on your mobile information device

How the Digerati Misread The Social Network

Facebook by _Max-B

I just saw The Social Network and I must admit I’m a little perplexed by some of the reactions to it. I found Zuckerberg to be a sympathetic character in the film. Supposedly, so did most other people my age:

From David Carr’s piece in the New York Times:

“When you talk to people afterward, it was as if they were seeing two different films,” said Scott Rudin, one of the producers. “The older audiences see Zuckerberg as a tragic figure who comes out of the film with less of himself than when he went in, while young people see him as completely enhanced, a rock star, who did what he needed to do to protect the thing that he had created.”

I saw the character as sympathetic, human. He wrote some mean things about his ex-girlfriend online (who said some mean stuff to his face)- while he was drunk, heart broken, angry and 18 years old. He also had to make some hard decisions, and lost a friend in the process. He comes out on top, beating the rich assholes and naysayers who stood in his way – but at a cost. I didn’t see him as completely tragic or as a rock star. Just as a guy living his life. Most of us don’t run companies valued at $25 billion, but I think we’ve all made bad decisions, hurt people we cared about and had to cut someone out of our lives, even if it hurt us. (Or maybe I’m just weird.)

Jose Antonio Vargas (the journalist that Zuckerberg confessed writing compromising IMs to), who self-identifies as a millennial, doesn’t fall in line with our generation either. He, having interviewed Zuckerberg several times, was bothered by how the film potrayed Zuckerberg. That he wasn’t close to the real life Zuckerberg may be true – but I didn’t see him as an “exoticized” other like Vargas and Anil Dash saw him. I saw him as a complex human being.

Vargas was also disappointed that the movie didn’t offer “any real insight about our evolving online reality.” Which is missing the point entirely.

Vargas quotes Jeff Jarvis as saying “This is all about snobbery, about dismissing all this Internet stuff. The filmmakers didn’t give any value to what Zuckerberg made.” This is dead wrong – the movie isn’t dismissive of the Internet. It just isn’t about the Internet, nor was it under any obligation to be.

If you’re hoping to learn anything revelatory about on the Internet or social networking is shaping our lives, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Ultimately, this is more of a coming of age movie than a technology movie.

Lawrence Lessig’s take on the film is equally bizarre:

And indeed, the lawyers are the only truly respectable or honorable characters in the film. When they’re ridiculed or insulted by Zuckerberg, their responses are more mature, and better, than Zuckerberg’s.

I must have seen a different film than Lessig. Because in the movie I saw, the Zuckerberg character completely eviscerates the lawyers several times, arrogantly but certainly not humorlessly – and they often deserve it.

So yeah, I liked it. And I think, if anything, it may have been too sympathetic to Zuckerberg. For example, that now infamous IM conversation about Facebook users’ privacy never comes up. But as a portrait of the trials and tribulations of balancing friendships with career, and of growing up in general, it stands up.

See Also:

The Daily Beast: Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard: The Truth Behind ‘The Social Network’

Previously:

Puketastic interview with Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook privacy

(Photo by _Max-B / CC)

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